I would consider myself to be cautiously optimistic about Ultraviolet–Hollywood's big gamble on digital movies. The service would provide a digital locker that consumers can "fill" with movie purchases, while the films themselves live in the cloud. I'm optimistic because I'm ready for digital media, and I'm tired of stacks of DVDs. But I'm enormously concerned about the whole cloud aspect.
Ultraviolet will not be a service where you download a root video file to your computer with which you can do anything you want. It'll be a digital copy of a movie you can access whenever you want, from pretty much any device… but you won't own the file.
Which makes me nervous about the longevity of Ultraviolet. What if I sink a bunch of money in Ultraviolet movies, and in five years Hollywood finds a new shiny toy they can make more money with and shuts it down? I suppose that's the risk you take with any new medium–just ask owners of HD DVD hardware or movies.
Amazon Steps Up For Ultraviolet
Until now, Ultraviolet titles were mostly only available as part of a bundle in a retail store–typically packaged with a Blu-Ray disc–or directly from the Ultraviolet store. You could also find them at Wal-Mart and Barnes & Noble. But now they have the single largest online distribution source around, one that should yield a ton of new customers: Amazon.
The online shopping giant has a huge customer base, a healthy digital content service, and some very popular tablet/e-reader/mobile type devices… all good reasons for Hollywood to join up with them. And Amazon gets some premium content they can start marketing to their Kindle Fire owners–I believe Christophor Rick talked about the potential of the Kindle Fire to have a big impact on video.
Now, maybe if I'm on the fence about which tablet-type device I want… maybe this pushes me over the edge toward the Fire?
It's been a while since I've purchased a DVD… I guess I was too eager and started holding out for digital films a bit too soon. But now they're here, with almost all of Hollywood involved. And the public has shown a willingness–if not flat out desire–to purchase and watch digital copies of film and television favorites. Amazon coming on board as a distributor is a great sign for Ultraviolet's chances, at least in the near future.